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Amazon Prime Day beats Cyber Monday with $11 billion in sales

June 23, 2021, 5:24 PM UTC

Amazon’s Prime Day event this week, a sale mimicked by many of the online retailer’s rivals, led to a surge in broad online spending that bested last Cyber Monday’s results in a show of how e-commerce is simply not slowing down, even as the pandemic recedes.

Total U.S. e-commerce sales on Monday and Tuesday topped $11 billion, split roughly evenly across both days, according to widely followed estimates by Adobe Digital Economy Index. Last year’s Cyber Monday events, the peak of online holiday shopping in any year, hit $10.9 billion. (The 2021 number was, however, only 6.1% higher than Prime Day in 2020, when it was held in October as a way to stoke retail sales ahead of the holiday season.)

What is striking about the Prime Day results is that this year, Amazon held its event during what is usually a big shopping lull between the post-winter rush and back-to-school events in early July. Amazon, which garners nearly half of all U.S. e-commerce sales, once again set the agenda for retail and prompted large, e-commerce proficient rivals like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, and Kohl’s to follow suit with their own sales.

“There’s a pent-up demand for online shopping as consumers look forward to a return to normalcy,” said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights, of the sales gains.

Beyond the strong headline sales figures, Adobe found another reason for retailers to rejoice: The deals were less pronounced than during previous Prime Day events, protecting profit margins for many retailers still battered by the sharp sales declines during the pandemic.

As for Amazon itself, which doesn’t disclose its Prime Day sales results, it saw similar patterns in what shoppers have been gravitating to in recent months. Amazon’s best categories included tools, beauty items, and household products such as vacuum cleaners and coffee makers. And echoing what Walmart pointed out in May, Amazon said teeth whiteners sold briskly.

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